The average overhead crane operator salary is $34,797. The most common degree is a high school diploma degree with an business major. It usually takes 1-2 years of experience to become an overhead crane operator. Overhead crane operators with a Overhead Crane Operator certification earn more money. Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 32,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Overhead Crane Operator Do

There are certain skills that many overhead crane operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, coordination and visual ability.

Learn more about what an Overhead Crane Operator does

How To Become an Overhead Crane Operator

If you're interested in becoming an overhead crane operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 7.0% of overhead crane operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.7% of overhead crane operators have master's degrees. Even though some overhead crane operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Overhead Crane Operator

Overhead Crane Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for an Overhead Crane Operator

Overhead Crane Operators in America make an average salary of $34,797 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $41,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Overhead Crane Operator Salary
$34,797 Yearly
$16.73 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Overhead Crane Operator

The role of an overhead crane operator includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general overhead crane operator responsibilities:

  • Observes load hookup and determines safety of load. Manipulates or depresses crane controls, such as pedals, levers,
  • Operate various types of heavy equipment to move materials
  • Operates an overhead crane to move product from one location to another within the manufacturing processloads & unloads incoming/outgoing trucks with customer deliveries (finished goods) with use of a crane or fork liftuses crane, as necessary, to move inventory finished goods from production to kiln areacommunicates with supervisor or operations manager concerning scheduling of tasks & assignment of prioritiesperforms all other related duties as assignedresponsible for maintaining a clean

There are several types of overhead crane operator, including:

Forklift Operator


As a forklift operator, the majority of your time will be spent riding around on a forklift. You'll use it to move objects around so, unfortunately, there will be no time for any funny business. In fact, you'll probably need to follow some safety rules to ensure no one gets hurt.

There really aren't any formal education requirements, but you will probably need to be trained on how to operate the machine. Since products and materials are shipped at all times, you may need to stay late or even work an overnight shift from time to time.

And you better believe you'll get some overtime hours from being a forklift operator, which will be a nice little surprise when it's payday. Plus, did we mention you get to drive a forklift around. Sure, you have to be careful moving objects and trying to avoid running over your co-workers but, hey, at least you get to drive a forklift.

  • Average Salary: $34,213
  • Degree: High School Diploma



As an operator, it's your job to know how specific equipment or machines work. You should know how to install and repair certain machinery as well as knowing how to use tools to help with the manufacturing process.

Operators often spend their time checking in on equipment and making sure it's properly working. Every problem that is detected, you'll often call upon an operators to come and save the day. They're essentially the superhero in an office setting.

In most cases, operators work full-time, normal hours. But when a client needs help, you'll need to be available. which means that sometimes duty calls at night or on the weekends.

  • Average Salary: $37,928
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Lift Operator


Lift operators operate chair lifts in ski resorts. Thanks to their work, skiers don't have to trek up a mountain themselves just to go down again, instead they can sit in a lift and let machinery do the work for them. Lift operators need to know how to operate lifts and inspect the machinery so that it doesn't break down, leaving skiers stranded in the air. However, their job does not involve machines alone. Lift operators also need to have excellent communications skills to provide service to skiers and help them use the lift, especially beginners that may not know how to protect themselves. Lift operators also need an eagle eye for safety standards.

Formal education is not a requirement to become a lift operator. In fact, only about 12% of lift operators have a bachelor's degree. A high school diploma and a year or two of experience providing customer service are the most important qualifications.

Lift operators earn an average salary of $30,391 a year. However, they need to be ready to spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the cold.

  • Average Salary: $32,309
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Overhead Crane Operator Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active overhead crane operator jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where overhead crane operators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Overhead Crane Operator Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
2New Jersey872$34,053
10North Carolina171$32,856
12Rhode Island139$29,455
20New York87$40,248
23South Carolina71$32,507
41New Hampshire16$29,400
42North Dakota14$38,810
45South Dakota7$35,585
47West Virginia5$36,714
49New Mexico4$31,788

Overhead Crane Operator Education

Overhead Crane Operator Majors

17.2 %

Overhead Crane Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

56.0 %


14.7 %


13.6 %

Top Skills For an Overhead Crane Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.9% of overhead crane operators listed cranes on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and coordination are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Overhead Crane Operator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Overhead Crane Operator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Overhead Crane Operator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Overhead Crane Operator diversity

Overhead Crane Operator Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among overhead crane operators, 4.5% of them are women, while 95.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among overhead crane operators is White, which makes up 66.3% of all overhead crane operators.

  • The most common foreign language among overhead crane operators is Spanish at 76.5%.

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Best States For an Overhead Crane Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an overhead crane operator. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Colorado, and New York. Overhead crane operators make the most in Washington with an average salary of $52,684. Whereas in California and Colorado, they would average $46,780 and $41,458, respectively. While overhead crane operators would only make an average of $40,248 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Overhead Crane Operator Jobs: 95
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. California

Total Overhead Crane Operator Jobs: 549
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Washington

Total Overhead Crane Operator Jobs: 96
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Overhead Crane Operators

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Top Overhead Crane Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Overhead Crane Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Kloeckner Metals$41,308$19.8610
2Olympic Steel$40,969$19.7015
3North American Stainless$40,458$19.4510
4Metals USA$40,015$19.2414
5Steel Technologies$39,913$19.1915
6Republic Steel$39,901$19.1812
7Farwest Steel$38,550$18.5311
8Kenwal Steel$38,052$18.2910
9O'Neal Steel$37,508$18.0310
10United States Steel$37,358$17.9651

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